This Bank Holiday weekend’s player spotlight focuses on a man who has been there, done it and got several t-shirts along the way/
Now 37, it’s fair to say Thirlwell is in the twilight years of his illustrious career but the experience he brings to Simon Weaver’s Harrogate Town side is invaluable.
The former Sunderland vice-captain and Carlisle United hero is into his second season at this level, and his coaching aMBitions take just as much priority as his current playing days.
Thirlwell had a spell as caretaker manager at Carlisle in 2014, seven years into an admirable career at the heart of the Lancashire side’s midfield. He is now relishing his role as the Head of Development at Town, something which will give him more experience as he works his way up the coaching ladder.
Thirlwell’s playing days have definitely been an example to follow. After playing in the Sheffield Wednesday academy setup, he started his senior career at Sunderland in 1997 with a loan to Swindon Town in 1999, the midfield maestro became a highly recognised Mackem when taking over captaincy duties after Jason McAteer’s injury. Mick McCarthy released Thirlwell in 2004, where he spent a season at Bramall Lane with Sheffield United. A spell at Derby County followed, and Thirlwell’s affair with Carlisle began with a loan spell in 2006. A year later, he signed on a permanent deal, going on to make over 200 league appearances in a blue shirt, before retiring from the professional game in 2015 to join Harrogate.
An interesting fact is that the Thirlwell was once called up for the England Under-21 side, in a 6-1 thrashing of Georgia in 2000.
Should Thirlwell play or be a sound voice on the side-lines, he will work as a threat to the Shaymen on Monday afternoon
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